The Provincial Policy Statement (PPS), issued under the Planning Act, is the statement of the Province’s policies concerning land use planning. The PPS provides policy direction for the entire province on matters of provincial interest in land use planning and development and recognizes the diversity of Ontario. Provincial plans apply to certain areas of the province and provide specific direction that generally takes precedence over the PPS.
Implementation of the Provincial Policy Statement is set out through the Planning Act, which requires that decisions on land use planning matters made by municipalities, the Province, the Ontario Municipal Board and other decision-makers “shall be consistent with” the Provincial Policy Statement. Municipalities are the prime implementers of the Provincial Policy Statement through policies in their municipal official plans and through decisions on other planning matters.
The current Provincial Policy Statement came into effect on March 1, 2005. Subsection 3(10) of the Planning Act states that the PPS must be reviewed every five years from the date that the PPS came into effect, to determine whether revisions are needed.
The five-year review of the Provincial Policy Statement commenced on March 1, 2010 and has included extensive consultation across Ontario with members of the public, municipalities, Aboriginal communities and organizations, and stakeholders. The input, ideas and suggestions from the consultation have helped shape proposed revisions to the PPS and prompted consideration of whether to extend the legislated PPS five-year review cycle.
For the full text of the draft policies, please visit the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing website at: ontario.ca/pps.
Highlights of Draft PPS Policies
The draft policies include stronger, clearer direction to support the following goals:
Building strong, healthy communities by:
- Promoting greater coordination between municipalities and other levels of government, agencies and boards
- Strengthening linkages between land use planning and healthy, active communities
- Encouraging coordination and co-location of public facilities and coordination between municipalities and other levels of government
- Supporting active transportation and transit, and providing connectivity within and among transportation modes
- Recognizing the range and diversity of settlement areas across Ontario
- Recognizing that all areas experience land use change but not necessarily growth
- Clarifying that the requirements to support small expansions of settlements may be less than those for large expansions
- Allowing limited use of septic tanks and wells for minor infill development and rounding out of unserviced settlement areas
- Recognizing Aboriginal interests
- Encouraging planning authorities to coordinate planning with Aboriginal communities, where appropriate
- Acknowledging that PPS is to be implemented in a manner consistent with Aboriginal and treaty rights in the Constitution Act, 1982
- Encouraging coordination of emergency management with other planning considerations
- Recognizing the importance of parks and recreation, green spaces, trails and trail linkages
- Requiring the consideration of potential impacts of climate change adaptation and mitigation
- Encouraging green infrastructure and strengthening stormwater management requirements
- Directing development away from areas of high to extreme risk of wildland fire unless the risk is mitigated
Supporting a strong economy by:
- Promoting investment-ready communities and opportunities for economic development
- Recognizing the importance of communication infrastructure
- Strengthening protection for major industries from incompatible uses
- Planning for and protecting corridors for goods movement and future employment along those corridors
- Protecting provincially planned corridors and promoting land use compatibility for lands adjacent to the planned and existing corridors
- Clarifying that planning for infrastructure can go beyond the 20 year time horizon
- Supporting long-term planning for employment areas
- Supporting the adaptive re-use of infrastructure
- Requiring consideration of the life-cycle cost of infrastructure
- Permitting additional uses on farms and providing flexibility for agricultural-related uses
- Requiring agricultural areas to be designated in municipal official plans and impacts of non-farm development surrounding agricultural operations to be mitigated
Protecting the environment and resources by:
- Recognizing the importance of biodiversity
- Requiring identification of shoreline areas
- Requiring the identification of natural heritage systems in southern Ontario
- Recognizing the importance of the Great Lakes and expanding protection for Great Lakes coastal wetlands
- Refining area of protection for significant woodlands and valleylands in southern Ontario
- Strengthening requirements for the rehabilitation of specialty crop areas that are subject to aggregate extraction
- Clarifying provisions for aggregate extraction within and adjacent to certain natural heritage features
- Encouraging comprehensive rehabilitation planning after aggregate extraction
- Supporting the conservation of aggregate resources, including recycling and reuse
- Promoting the conservation of cultural heritage and archaeological resources
- Requiring mineral deposits, petroleum resources and aggregate resources to be identified in municipal official plans
The draft policies generally focus on outcomes, rather than the process. This protects provincial interests while providing an opportunity for approaches to be developed locally to achieve those outcomes.